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In re Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena Direct to Dep't of Veterans Affairs

April 28, 2009

IN RE: MOTION TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE WITH SUBPOENA DIRECT TO DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
BURLODGE LIMITED, PETITIONER,
v.
STANDEX INTERNATIONAL CORP. AND DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John M. Facciola U.S. Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Currently before the court is a Motion to Compel Compliance with a subpoena, pursuant to Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, filed by Burlodge Limited. Motion of Burlodge Limited for an Order Compelling the Department of Veterans Affairs to Comply with Subpoena [#1] ("Mot. to Comp.").

BACKGROUND

This Motion to Compel arises out of a patent infringement case, currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, regarding a method of preparing and serving food using "rethermalization" or "retherm" food carts. Both parties in the underlying case have a right to sell the retherm carts, but only Burlodge Limited ("Burlodge"), the defendant and counter-plaintiff, has the ability to grant others the right to use its patented method of preparing and serving food. Burlodge claims that Standex International Corporation ("Standex"), the plaintiff and counter-defendant in the underlying case, has been selling retherm carts and providing third-parties with Burlodge's patented method of preparing and serving food. During discovery, Burlodge found that Standex had sold retherm carts, called Unitron 7's, to the Department of Veteran's Affairs ("DVA").

On April 4, 2008, Burlodge served a subpoena on the DVA seeking information related to the DVA's use, and purchase of the Unitron 7, as well as the DVA's correspondence with Standex related to the purchase and training for the use of Unitron 7's.

Specifically, Burlodge first served a notice of deposition pursuant to Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, denominating the following topics for the deposition:

1. The meal preparation, delivery and dispensation methods employed by any Veteran's Affairs Medical Center ("VAMC") facility using Unitron 7 equipment;

2. The purchase of each Unitron 7 product;

3. Communications or correspondence between USECO (and/or Standex Corporation) and the DVA;

4. The cost to prepare, deliver and dispense a meal; and

5. Costs billed or recovered in connection with meal preparation, delivery, and dispensation services to patients and other companies and organizations (such as a sister company, for example).

Mot. to Comp. Ex. 1, at 4. Burlodge also asks that the DVA produce the following documents:

1. All documents related to the purchase of Unitron 7 equipment;

2. All requests for proposal that led to the purchase of Unitron 7 equipment;

3. All proposals for rethermalization systems;

4. The file relating to the Unitron 7 system;

5. Documents relative to systems considered in addition to the Unitron 7;

6. Documents sufficient to show the costs involved in preparing and ...


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